In the 900 miles between Puebo, CO, and Boise, ID, there are approximately three places to take a piss. Today, I proudly tromped upon them all. Unfortunately, that also meant my second straight day of pretty much forever in the car, which has kept me spectral around these parts. Oh, and limited in my ability to feel about Garnett.
I’ve got to say, what murky reaction I can manage right now falls somewhere in between Billups’s exultation and Dr. LIC’s morbidity. How couldn’t it? This team will represent the Eastern Conference in next year’s Finals, or at least they should. All three are responsible adults who know their games, and can fit together with no one getting diminished. But I worry, seriously worry, that next season they’ll be the cause of more anxiety than pithy fireworks.
While I’m as staunch a supporter of the meaningless months as anyone watching the league, at this point the narratives of Garnett, Allen and Pierce (not to mention the Celtics at a franchise) are bound up in to win, or to not do so. We’ve grown so accustomed to teams like the ’07 or ’06 Pistons gliding through the eighty-two and then crinkling in the playoffs; I worry that, lyrical as this team might prove to be, they’re setting themselves up to be one of these regular season flowers. Look at it like this: this team is about the ring. With every “I can’t believe this fucking thing is happening” games in January, we’ll be forced to wonder if it’s not all some kind of saintly fever dream. It’ll all feel like one big joke, just waiting for the May punchline.
Also, this isn’t the kind of career-defining experiment that Iverson/Melo was. That helped us discover who those men really were, and added a chapter to their tales that had nothing to do with the bottom line. I don’t think there’s any doubt that this trio of gratiutude will be able to operate in the same panel, for days on end. Couple that with the preceding neurosis, and I really don’t know how nuts I’ll be about watching them all the times they get nationally televised (BECAUSE MY LEAGUE PASS BELONGS TO THE BOBCATS). Of course that’s a gross exaggeration—still, to return to the theme, this is about getting a job done. Nothing’s gain or lost if KG, Ray Ray, and P-Squared can live together when nothing’s at stake, when their talent and maturity can push them past anyone coasting. We’re waiting for when history beckons, for when this pat assemblage in thrown into more uncertain waters.
Let me end this with some FD characteristic Boston-bashing: sorry, but your team has rented credibility. This is by no stretch of the imagination a revitalization of the Celtics brand. It isn’t a dynasty, it’s a three-year window. These aren’t lifelong leprechauns, they’re stragglers wandering in from the proverbial cold. You’re still saddled with a brain-addled GM and a subpar coach. And while Simmons’ riff about McHale helping from beyond enemy lines was cute, nothing in this scenario evokes the storied Celtics network. Ainge happened to be in the right place at the right time; it could have happened to any team in the NBA, and it just happened to befall its most decorated. You didn’t will or earn it, and it’s not a reflection on any legacy or organizational culture. If you think it can somehow jumpstart that tradition, you’re putting the chicken before the egg.
Extra: To the commenter who was so fiery over Smush, let me echo Dr. LIC: Smush Parker is the Association’s finest in-game dunker.
(Apologies for resorting to two animal photos. I'm on the verge of disintegration and can't really communicate with myself.)